Sep 8, 2013; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Oakland Raiders defensive coordinator Jason Tarver during the game against the Indianapolis Colts at Lucas Oil Stadium. The Colts defeated the Raiders 21-17. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Oakland Raiders: Was Jason Tarver’s Sideline Reaction Out Of Line?


A finger at the O.co Coliseum has someone in a heap of trouble (and it wasn’t made of foam).

Oakland Raiders defensive coordinator Jason Tarver raised the middle digit of his right hand not once, but twice in their win against the Pittsburgh Steelers. He also shouted a phrase that rhymed with “tuck you.” Tarver’s reaction with nine minutes left in the third quarter was a response to iffy judgment by the referees.

Tarver didn’t go the usual coach’s route of throwing their headset or playbook in a fit of rage. Instead he channeled his inner Bud Adams and perhaps his sideline show was an homage to the recently deceased Tennessee Titans owner.

But what triggered Tarver to lose his cool upset the Silver and Black crowd as well. Following a tussle in the second quarter instigated by the Steelers’ Kelvin Beachum (over a yanked Ben Roethlisberger jersey) which strangely resulted in no flags, Rothlisberger overthrew Le’Veon Bell in the flat. Bell juggled and lost the ball as Mike Jenkins zeroed in, but the cornerback pulled up with space to spare. What looked like incidental contact resulted in a defenseless-receiver personal foul and a chorus of boos throughout the stadium.

This wasn’t the first time Oakland was on the wrong end of a questionable call by the refs and one must wonder if this was a classic anti-Raiders call. After all, the team is only eighth in total penalties in the NFL this season, so perhaps the officials are falling short for their quota? Something to ponder.

After a chat, the crew did rescind the flag, so perhaps Tarver got to them. Or they realized it was a mistake and wanted to save their credibility. Whatever the reason, the zebras made the right decision in the end.

As for Tarver, he will pay an undisclosed fine to the league for his wild antics. He apologized, too.

“It was in the heat of the moment and I regret drawing attention away from the Raiders players and what they accomplished.”

Still, it’s encouraging to see such invested emotion from a defensive coordinator. It’s likely Tarver’s pent-up energy is unleashed in practice and film study, fueling a defense that’s 10th in the NFL in total yards allowed.

But there’s no excuse for using obscene gestures, and as an adult Tarver deserved repercussions. Let’s remember there are very impressionable minds watching Raiders telecasts who may look up to a football mind like the Raiders’ play caller.

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